thepeoplesrecord:

How Trayvon Martin’s death launched a new generation of black activismAugust 29, 2014 | Mychal Denzel Smith | The Nation
On July 13, 2013, George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the murder of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American 17-year-old walking home from a 7-Eleven. What The Washington Post and other media outlets had dubbed “the trial of the century” was over, with a deeply unsettling verdict. In the fifteen months between Trayvon’s death and the beginning of the trial, people across the country had taken to the streets, as well as to newspapers, television and social media, to decry the disregard for young black lives in America. For them—for us—this verdict was confirmation.
A group of 100 black activists, ranging in age from 18 to 35, had gathered in Chicago that same weekend. They had come together at the invitation of Cathy J. Cohen, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago and the author of Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics, and her organization, the Black Youth Project. Launched in 2004, the group was born as a research project to study African-American youth; in the decade since then, Cohen has turned the BYP into an activist organization. The plan for this meeting was to discuss movement building beyond electoral politics. Young black voters turned out in record numbers in the 2008 and ‘12 elections: 55 percent of black 18-to-24-year-olds voted in 2008, an 8 percent increase from 2004, and while a somewhat smaller number—49 percent—voted in 2012, they still outpaced their white counterparts. But how would young black voters hold those they had put in office accountable? And what were their demands?
This group, coming together under the banner Black Youth Project 100 (“BYP100” for short), was tasked with figuring that out. As with any large gathering, people disagreed, cliques were formed, and tensions began to mount. The organizers struggled to build consensus within this diverse group of academics, artists and activists. And then George Zimmerman was acquitted. The energy in the room changed.
“A moment of trauma can oftentimes present you with an opportunity to do something about the situation to prevent that trauma from happening again,” said Charlene Carruthers, one the activists at the conference.
Carruthers, a Chicago native, has been an organizer for more than ten years, starting as a student at Wesleyan University. She has led grassroots and digital campaigns for, among others, the Women’s Media Center, National People’s Action and ColorofChange.org. She heard all types of sounds emanating from the people in the room that day, from crying to screaming. “I don’t believe the pain was a result, necessarily, of shock because Zimmerman was found not guilty,” Carruthers said, “but of yet another example…of an injustice being validated by the state—something that black people were used to.”
Some members of BYP100 went into the streets of downtown Chicago and led a rally. Others stayed behind and drafted the group’s first collective statement. Addressed to “the Family of Brother Trayvon Martin and to the Black Community,” it read in part: “When we heard ‘not guilty,’ our hearts broke collectively. In that moment, it was clear that Black life had no value. Emotions poured out—emotions that are real, natural and normal, as we grieved for Trayvon and his stolen humanity. Black people, WE LOVE AND SEE YOU.”
The group recorded a reading of the letter and released the video on July 14, one day after the verdict. “That was the catalyst,” Carruthers said, “that cemented [the idea] that the people in that room had to do something collectively moving forward.”
…
The demise of the Black Panther Party in the mid-1970s left a void in black political organizing. The Panthers weren’t without problems (the sexist nature of their leadership was a big one), but they represented the last gasps of a national black organizing that combined radical political education, direct action, youth engagement and community services. In the years since, racial-justice groups have struggled to effect change as profound as they managed to achieve during the heyday of the civil-rights and Black Power movements. The Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network is mostly visible to the extent that Sharpton is able to leverage his own platform and personality for the causes he cares about. The same is true of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Until Benjamin Jealous took over as president in 2008, the NAACP—the nation’s oldest civil-rights organization—was battling perceptions of irrelevance. Under Jealous’s leadership, the NAACP changed course, but the question lingered as to whether it was equipped to fight the new challenges faced by black America. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement has existed since 1993 without much fanfare; the National Hip-Hop Political Convention, started in 2004, fizzled. “The times we live in,” Carruthers said, “call for a resurgence of national black-liberation organizing.”
This past May, I traveled to Chicago for the “Freedom Dreams, Freedom Now!” conference, hosted by a number of organizations, including BYP100, on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago. The conference was intended as an “intergenerational, interactive gathering” of scholars, artists and activists commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Freedom Summer and discussing contemporary social-justice organizing. The opening plenary featured a keynote address by Julian Bond, a co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and former board chair of the NAACP. He presented a history of Freedom Summer, the SNCC-led movement to register voters and get black people to the polls in Mississippi, before a premiere screening of the PBS documentary Freedom Summer, directed by Stanley Nelson.
But the aim of the conference wasn’t just to reminisce. It was a precursor to Freedom Side, a collective that includes members of BYP100, the Dream Defenders and United We Dream, an immigrant-youth-led organization, as well as more established groups like the NAACP and AFL-CIO. Before the conference, as part of the Freedom Summer celebration, the Dream Defenders hosted “freedom schools” throughout Florida, talking to young people about criminalization, mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline. Voter registration drives were also held across the country.
The day after the conference ended, BYP100 hosted an organizer-training event at the University of Chicago. Early on, the attendees were split into two groups, and the two sides engaged each other in a call-and-response chant that referenced historical greats like Nat Turner, Angela Davis, Ida B. Wells, Mumia Abu-Jamal and Fred Hampton. But even as they paid homage to their history in song, these young activists had their eyes on the future. Members led sessions on personal narratives in organizing, how to handle interactions with police officers, and building political power.
Read full article here


Blacks are good at believing lies, travon was a thug, the niggers think he was a saint. The jury heard the truth but the niggers believe the lie. The reason the liberals lead them around by the dick and the Jew takes their money

thepeoplesrecord:

How Trayvon Martin’s death launched a new generation of black activism
August 29, 2014 | Mychal Denzel Smith | The Nation

On July 13, 2013, George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the murder of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American 17-year-old walking home from a 7-Eleven. What The Washington Post and other media outlets had dubbed “the trial of the century” was over, with a deeply unsettling verdict. In the fifteen months between Trayvon’s death and the beginning of the trial, people across the country had taken to the streets, as well as to newspapers, television and social media, to decry the disregard for young black lives in America. For them—for us—this verdict was confirmation.

A group of 100 black activists, ranging in age from 18 to 35, had gathered in Chicago that same weekend. They had come together at the invitation of Cathy J. Cohen, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago and the author of Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics, and her organization, the Black Youth Project. Launched in 2004, the group was born as a research project to study African-American youth; in the decade since then, Cohen has turned the BYP into an activist organization. The plan for this meeting was to discuss movement building beyond electoral politics. Young black voters turned out in record numbers in the 2008 and ‘12 elections: 55 percent of black 18-to-24-year-olds voted in 2008, an 8 percent increase from 2004, and while a somewhat smaller number—49 percent—voted in 2012, they still outpaced their white counterparts. But how would young black voters hold those they had put in office accountable? And what were their demands?

This group, coming together under the banner Black Youth Project 100 (“BYP100” for short), was tasked with figuring that out. As with any large gathering, people disagreed, cliques were formed, and tensions began to mount. The organizers struggled to build consensus within this diverse group of academics, artists and activists. And then George Zimmerman was acquitted. The energy in the room changed.

“A moment of trauma can oftentimes present you with an opportunity to do something about the situation to prevent that trauma from happening again,” said Charlene Carruthers, one the activists at the conference.

Carruthers, a Chicago native, has been an organizer for more than ten years, starting as a student at Wesleyan University. She has led grassroots and digital campaigns for, among others, the Women’s Media Center, National People’s Action and ColorofChange.org. She heard all types of sounds emanating from the people in the room that day, from crying to screaming. “I don’t believe the pain was a result, necessarily, of shock because Zimmerman was found not guilty,” Carruthers said, “but of yet another example…of an injustice being validated by the state—something that black people were used to.”

Some members of BYP100 went into the streets of downtown Chicago and led a rally. Others stayed behind and drafted the group’s first collective statement. Addressed to “the Family of Brother Trayvon Martin and to the Black Community,” it read in part: “When we heard ‘not guilty,’ our hearts broke collectively. In that moment, it was clear that Black life had no value. Emotions poured out—emotions that are real, natural and normal, as we grieved for Trayvon and his stolen humanity. Black people, WE LOVE AND SEE YOU.”

The group recorded a reading of the letter and released the video on July 14, one day after the verdict. “That was the catalyst,” Carruthers said, “that cemented [the idea] that the people in that room had to do something collectively moving forward.”

The demise of the Black Panther Party in the mid-1970s left a void in black political organizing. The Panthers weren’t without problems (the sexist nature of their leadership was a big one), but they represented the last gasps of a national black organizing that combined radical political education, direct action, youth engagement and community services. In the years since, racial-justice groups have struggled to effect change as profound as they managed to achieve during the heyday of the civil-rights and Black Power movements. The Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network is mostly visible to the extent that Sharpton is able to leverage his own platform and personality for the causes he cares about. The same is true of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Until Benjamin Jealous took over as president in 2008, the NAACP—the nation’s oldest civil-rights organization—was battling perceptions of irrelevance. Under Jealous’s leadership, the NAACP changed course, but the question lingered as to whether it was equipped to fight the new challenges faced by black America. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement has existed since 1993 without much fanfare; the National Hip-Hop Political Convention, started in 2004, fizzled. “The times we live in,” Carruthers said, “call for a resurgence of national black-liberation organizing.”

This past May, I traveled to Chicago for the “Freedom Dreams, Freedom Now!” conference, hosted by a number of organizations, including BYP100, on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago. The conference was intended as an “intergenerational, interactive gathering” of scholars, artists and activists commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Freedom Summer and discussing contemporary social-justice organizing. The opening plenary featured a keynote address by Julian Bond, a co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and former board chair of the NAACP. He presented a history of Freedom Summer, the SNCC-led movement to register voters and get black people to the polls in Mississippi, before a premiere screening of the PBS documentary Freedom Summer, directed by Stanley Nelson.

But the aim of the conference wasn’t just to reminisce. It was a precursor to Freedom Side, a collective that includes members of BYP100, the Dream Defenders and United We Dream, an immigrant-youth-led organization, as well as more established groups like the NAACP and AFL-CIO. Before the conference, as part of the Freedom Summer celebration, the Dream Defenders hosted “freedom schools” throughout Florida, talking to young people about criminalization, mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline. Voter registration drives were also held across the country.

The day after the conference ended, BYP100 hosted an organizer-training event at the University of Chicago. Early on, the attendees were split into two groups, and the two sides engaged each other in a call-and-response chant that referenced historical greats like Nat Turner, Angela Davis, Ida B. Wells, Mumia Abu-Jamal and Fred Hampton. But even as they paid homage to their history in song, these young activists had their eyes on the future. Members led sessions on personal narratives in organizing, how to handle interactions with police officers, and building political power.

Read full article here

Blacks are good at believing lies, travon was a thug, the niggers think he was a saint. The jury heard the truth but the niggers believe the lie. The reason the liberals lead them around
by the dick and the Jew takes their money

Why do you prochoice cunts act like coat hanger abortions were some sort of tragedy?I mean... you get your wish (to murder your child) and I get my wish (that you never produce another). To me, this is the perfect compromise.

fuck-liberal-morons:

feministingforchange:

pro-choice-or-no-voice:

fuck-liberal-morons:

pro-choice-or-no-voice:

Hey pro-lifers, is this the kind of representation you want?

Why am so surprised a pro-lifer wouldn’t give any fucks about pregnant people’s live and health? Wishing death and infertility through unsafe abortion and the very apparent misogyny you put forth just shows me how little you care about pregnant people.

Anyways, I’ve already wasted too much of my time on a shit stain like you. - Paige

The thing is, if you are dumb enough to make the conscious decision of have a coat hanger abortion (of which there haven’t been many true cases in the last 100 years) you don’t need to be passing on your genes. That said, I was just making a point. I actually support abortion. While it happens to be the morally derelict murder of an innocent child, abortion only kills future liberal scum and that is a great thing! People who truly hold conservative beliefs have the child and give it up for adoption if they really can’t care for it. Only people who are liberal (at their soul… I am not speaking of politics here) can live with and support such a disgusting decision as murdering their own offspring. Abortion is ultimately the best thing for a society that has gone so far off track as ours.

Abortion has after all been shown to be a primary cause in the decrease in overall crime we are currently enjoying. While the ends don’t necessarily make the means moral, you cant argue that less crime is a bad thing. :)

There are so many illogical fallacies here, I’m only reblogging this so everyone can laugh at your poor rebuttal, if you can even call it that. What are you, like a level one pro-lifer, regretting every old and tired argument fed to you through propaganda? Or just a troll? - Paige

Okay, so fuck-liberal-morons is against abortion if it’s in the name of a pregnant person’s choice, health, life, or just generally their bodily autonomy. But it’s totally fine if it’s to wipe out a political position that they disagree with. Hmmm priorities…

Damn strait. The only good reason for abortion is to wipe out the cancers of society.

Abortion was started to wipe out blacks and poor underclass whites

Why do you prochoice cunts act like coat hanger abortions were some sort of tragedy?I mean... you get your wish (to murder your child) and I get my wish (that you never produce another). To me, this is the perfect compromise.

fuck-liberal-morons:

brooklynfeministfury:

feministingforchange:

pro-choice-or-no-voice:

fuck-liberal-morons:

pro-choice-or-no-voice:

Hey pro-lifers, is this the kind of representation you want?

Why am so surprised a pro-lifer wouldn’t give any fucks about pregnant people’s live and health? Wishing death and infertility through unsafe abortion and the very apparent misogyny you put forth just shows me how little you care about pregnant people.

Anyways, I’ve already wasted too much of my time on a shit stain like you. - Paige

The thing is, if you are dumb enough to make the conscious decision of have a coat hanger abortion (of which there haven’t been many true cases in the last 100 years) you don’t need to be passing on your genes. That said, I was just making a point. I actually support abortion. While it happens to be the morally derelict murder of an innocent child, abortion only kills future liberal scum and that is a great thing! People who truly hold conservative beliefs have the child and give it up for adoption if they really can’t care for it. Only people who are liberal (at their soul… I am not speaking of politics here) can live with and support such a disgusting decision as murdering their own offspring. Abortion is ultimately the best thing for a society that has gone so far off track as ours.

Abortion has after all been shown to be a primary cause in the decrease in overall crime we are currently enjoying. While the ends don’t necessarily make the means moral, you cant argue that less crime is a bad thing. :)

There are so many illogical fallacies here, I’m only reblogging this so everyone can laugh at your poor rebuttal, if you can even call it that. What are you, like a level one pro-lifer, regretting every old and tired argument fed to you through propaganda? Or just a troll? - Paige

Okay, so fuck-liberal-morons is against abortion if it’s in the name of a pregnant person’s choice, health, life, or just generally their bodily autonomy. But it’s totally fine if it’s to wipe out a political position that they disagree with. Hmmm priorities…

I really can’t tolerate whiny boys calling anyone a cunt….like, dick, you came out of one, have some respect.

Cunt.

So you cannot argue conception control isn’t easier and cheaper

wannajoke:

CNN Be Like…

Of course, Kim is important

wannajoke:

CNN Be Like…

Of course, Kim is important

america-wakiewakie:

“But they’re looting and burning down stores”: Debunking the Logic of Oppression in Ferguson | AmericaWakieWakie
August 14th, 2014
"This is no time for fine words, but a time to lift one’s voice against the savagery of a people who claim to be the dispensers of democracy."
— Marcus Garvey
Ferguson protesters pulled nearly two city blocks back from police as they demonstrated in song last night. They held their empty hands high, an action symbolic of the “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” chant which has come to embody the circumstances of Mike Brown’s unarmed death at the hands of Ferguson, MO police. Yet, despite the peacefulness of the crowd, in an episode of déjà vu reminiscent of the crackdown on the ‘60s Civil Rights Movement, Ferguson police closed-in on protesters in military fashion, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at unarmed civilians.
Indiscriminate violence against black communities has long been the norm for police departments across the U.S. In the wake of Mike Brown’s death, many people (read mostly white people) have consistently defended the actions of Ferguson police (and police in general).
The latest iteration of this defense has come on the heels of a burned-down gas station and reports of alleged looting. On Tuesday I received an anonymous message saying “They burned down a gas station, stop crying racism.” I received another today which read, “Those people shouldn’t be in the middle of the road doing anything. Imagine how many of them have guns. Look up how they are looting and robbing.”
This line of reasoning ignores totally the slaying of Mike Brown and the antagonisms of a militarized police presence at a community protest (mind you, Ferguson, MO is over 60% black while its police force is 95% white). It is victim blaming which says inanimate objects ought to become the center of discussion and outrage surrounding the death of a living, breathing, vibrant human being, and that never should we mention the white supremacist institution which murdered him or the cop(s) who pulled the trigger.
Context Always Matters
“Individuals do not create rebellions; conditions do.”
— Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown)
A while back I tweeted that the most powerful weapon to destroy a people’s resistance is to erase their history. For the phenomenon that is victim blaming, this is absolutely essential. If people (read mostly white people) can erase an oppressed population’s history, they effectively erase the oppression they themselves committed and make invisible the power they obtain from it.
“Looting” rhetoric is a method of erasing the previous violence and oppression visited upon Ferguson’s black community, specifically the killing of Mike Brown, but also even before it. This rhetoric conveniently rejects greater sociopolitical, economic, and historical context for the sake of bolstering itself and in doing so it can dismiss the continuation of white supremacy in contemporary institutions (like police departments).  
St. Louis County, home to St. Louis and Ferguson, hardly has a good civil rights record. White supremacy has a long, strong history there.

“In May [1917], three thousand white men gathered in downtown East St. Louis and attacks on blacks began. With mobs destroying buildings and beating people, the Illinois governor called in the National Guard to prevent further rioting. Although rumors circulated about organized retribution attacks from African Americans, conditions eased somewhat for a few weeks.
On July 2, a car occupied by white males drove through a black area of the city and fired several shots into a standing group. An hour later, a car containing four people, including a journalist and two police officers, Detective Sergeant Samuel Coppedge and Detective Frank Wadley, was passing through the same area. Black residents, possibly assuming they were the original suspects, opened fire on their car, killing one officer instantly and mortally wounding another. 
Later that day, thousands of white spectators who assembled to view the detectives’ bloodstained automobile marched into the black section of town and started rioting [joined by the Guardsman called to stop it]. After cutting the water hoses of the fire department, the rioters burned entire sections of the city and shot inhabitants as they escaped the flames. Claiming that “Southern Negros deserve[d] a genuine lynching,” they lynched several blacks.”
— Wikipedia 

In the aftermath conservative estimates put between 40-150 black Americans dead and nearly 6,000 homeless. 
These events are telling. Throughout them we see the black community responding to white initiated violence, yet because whites held power, black people suffered. Recent events in Ferguson reflect the same relationship: Violence is wielded by the powerful while any retaliation by the oppressed is systematically and brutally repressed.  
Ultimately, the role of “looting” rhetoric removes the context of these power dynamics, its history, and allows for a game of moral equivalence to be played — one where to white people property damage is just as bad, if not more heinous than killing a young man. Considering that for the majority of U.S. history black people literally have been treated like property, it is unsurprising this reasoning is so pervasive.
It’s Institutional Racism, Stupid
“As an officer of the law, I am committed to administering justice swiftly and even-handedly, regardless of whether the suspect has dark skin or really dark skin.”
— Fictional Police Officer Vincent Turner, as quoted in the Onion
America’s justice system is racist. There is no other way to put it. From its racist policing built on profiling, to its war on drugs which dis-proportionally incarcerates black (and brown) people, to its sentencing laws that increase in severity if you are black, to the fact that a black man is killed by cops or vigilantes every 28 hours. It’s murderous and racist to its core. So when “the law” is the instrument of oppression, this leaves little recourse for communities like Ferguson.
But the logic of oppression will always place the onus for civility on the victims of oppression, never itself. In Ferguson this means restricting protesters to a few normalized avenues of addressing their grievances, which almost always are prescribed and deemed reasonable and legitimate by the very same racist legal system which kills black youth. Even then, if black Americans effectively exercise their legal rights, this too is met with brutal repression. 
Such has been the historical example of gun ownership and self-defense in the black American community:

“[On] May 2, 1967, 30 fully armed members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and their supporters were in the California State Capitol at Sacramento, California, protesting the infamous Mulford Act. The bill on its face was aimed at banning a U.S. citizen’s right to carry loaded weapons in public, so long as the weapons were “registered, not concealed, and not pointed in a threatening manner.”
In actuality the Mulford Act – or “the Panther Bill,” as it was tagged by the media – was designed to end the BPP Police Patrols that were organized against police brutality in the Afrikan community; as it was the Panther Party’s belief that “armed citizen patrols and the arming of the citizenry as guaranteed by the Constitution were the most effective deterrents to excessive use of police force.”
The alarmed and instantaneous reaction to the fully armed BPP in Sacramento further confirmed this, and then Gov. Ronald Reagan’s signing of the bill into law catapulted the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense into national prominence.
Three months prior to this, in March 1967, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had begun an “internal security” investigation of Huey Newton, prompting then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to announce, on Sept. 8, 1968, that the BPP was considered to be “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country.” At the time, the Black Panther Party was barely known outside of Oakland, Calif.”
—Bay View National Black Newspaper

In the following years the Hoover Administration meticulously and ruthlessly initiated campaigns to delegitimize and eviscerate the Black Panthers. 
Here, yet again, we see the black community responding to white initiated violence, in particular the Black Panther declaration to halt police brutality in their neighborhoods. And, you guessed it, yet again, because whites held power, black people suffered.
Next time you see somebody trying to equivocate a burned-down gas station or a little looting with the violence perpetrated against black bodies, with Mike Brown’s death, stop them. Check them. Reframe the conversation again. Make them talk about the robbing of memories from marriage, kids, grandchildren, an infinite number of moments never lived because those years were fleeced from a young man with fire, gunpowder, and bullets.
Force them to talk about the theft of a system that denies Mike Brown’s family, and countless others, any effective recourse, let alone justice. Don’t be fooled into thinking a gas station burned somehow levels the field of brutality and injustice levied against the black community. Don’t play that game, because that’s what it is to them: A game where they can say “I’m right and you’re wrong,” a game that ignores the reality that they’re alive and black boys like Mike Brown are dead. 


Thankfully

america-wakiewakie:

“But they’re looting and burning down stores”: Debunking the Logic of Oppression in Ferguson | AmericaWakieWakie

August 14th, 2014

"This is no time for fine words, but a time to lift one’s voice against the savagery of a people who claim to be the dispensers of democracy."

— Marcus Garvey

Ferguson protesters pulled nearly two city blocks back from police as they demonstrated in song last night. They held their empty hands high, an action symbolic of the “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” chant which has come to embody the circumstances of Mike Brown’s unarmed death at the hands of Ferguson, MO police. Yet, despite the peacefulness of the crowd, in an episode of déjà vu reminiscent of the crackdown on the ‘60s Civil Rights Movement, Ferguson police closed-in on protesters in military fashion, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at unarmed civilians.

Indiscriminate violence against black communities has long been the norm for police departments across the U.S. In the wake of Mike Brown’s death, many people (read mostly white people) have consistently defended the actions of Ferguson police (and police in general).

The latest iteration of this defense has come on the heels of a burned-down gas station and reports of alleged looting. On Tuesday I received an anonymous message saying “They burned down a gas station, stop crying racism.” I received another today which read, “Those people shouldn’t be in the middle of the road doing anything. Imagine how many of them have guns. Look up how they are looting and robbing.”

This line of reasoning ignores totally the slaying of Mike Brown and the antagonisms of a militarized police presence at a community protest (mind you, Ferguson, MO is over 60% black while its police force is 95% white). It is victim blaming which says inanimate objects ought to become the center of discussion and outrage surrounding the death of a living, breathing, vibrant human being, and that never should we mention the white supremacist institution which murdered him or the cop(s) who pulled the trigger.

Context Always Matters

“Individuals do not create rebellions; conditions do.”

— Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown)

A while back I tweeted that the most powerful weapon to destroy a people’s resistance is to erase their history. For the phenomenon that is victim blaming, this is absolutely essential. If people (read mostly white people) can erase an oppressed population’s history, they effectively erase the oppression they themselves committed and make invisible the power they obtain from it.

“Looting” rhetoric is a method of erasing the previous violence and oppression visited upon Ferguson’s black community, specifically the killing of Mike Brown, but also even before it. This rhetoric conveniently rejects greater sociopolitical, economic, and historical context for the sake of bolstering itself and in doing so it can dismiss the continuation of white supremacy in contemporary institutions (like police departments).  

St. Louis County, home to St. Louis and Ferguson, hardly has a good civil rights record. White supremacy has a long, strong history there.

“In May [1917], three thousand white men gathered in downtown East St. Louis and attacks on blacks began. With mobs destroying buildings and beating people, the Illinois governor called in the National Guard to prevent further rioting. Although rumors circulated about organized retribution attacks from African Americans, conditions eased somewhat for a few weeks.

On July 2, a car occupied by white males drove through a black area of the city and fired several shots into a standing group. An hour later, a car containing four people, including a journalist and two police officers, Detective Sergeant Samuel Coppedge and Detective Frank Wadley, was passing through the same area. Black residents, possibly assuming they were the original suspects, opened fire on their car, killing one officer instantly and mortally wounding another. 

Later that day, thousands of white spectators who assembled to view the detectives’ bloodstained automobile marched into the black section of town and started rioting [joined by the Guardsman called to stop it]. After cutting the water hoses of the fire department, the rioters burned entire sections of the city and shot inhabitants as they escaped the flames. Claiming that “Southern Negros deserve[d] a genuine lynching,” they lynched several blacks.”

Wikipedia

In the aftermath conservative estimates put between 40-150 black Americans dead and nearly 6,000 homeless.

These events are telling. Throughout them we see the black community responding to white initiated violence, yet because whites held power, black people suffered. Recent events in Ferguson reflect the same relationship: Violence is wielded by the powerful while any retaliation by the oppressed is systematically and brutally repressed. 

Ultimately, the role of “looting” rhetoric removes the context of these power dynamics, its history, and allows for a game of moral equivalence to be played — one where to white people property damage is just as bad, if not more heinous than killing a young man. Considering that for the majority of U.S. history black people literally have been treated like property, it is unsurprising this reasoning is so pervasive.

It’s Institutional Racism, Stupid

“As an officer of the law, I am committed to administering justice swiftly and even-handedly, regardless of whether the suspect has dark skin or really dark skin.”

— Fictional Police Officer Vincent Turner, as quoted in the Onion

America’s justice system is racist. There is no other way to put it. From its racist policing built on profiling, to its war on drugs which dis-proportionally incarcerates black (and brown) people, to its sentencing laws that increase in severity if you are black, to the fact that a black man is killed by cops or vigilantes every 28 hours. It’s murderous and racist to its core. So when “the law” is the instrument of oppression, this leaves little recourse for communities like Ferguson.

But the logic of oppression will always place the onus for civility on the victims of oppression, never itself. In Ferguson this means restricting protesters to a few normalized avenues of addressing their grievances, which almost always are prescribed and deemed reasonable and legitimate by the very same racist legal system which kills black youth. Even then, if black Americans effectively exercise their legal rights, this too is met with brutal repression.

Such has been the historical example of gun ownership and self-defense in the black American community:

“[On] May 2, 1967, 30 fully armed members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and their supporters were in the California State Capitol at Sacramento, California, protesting the infamous Mulford Act. The bill on its face was aimed at banning a U.S. citizen’s right to carry loaded weapons in public, so long as the weapons were “registered, not concealed, and not pointed in a threatening manner.”

In actuality the Mulford Act – or “the Panther Bill,” as it was tagged by the media – was designed to end the BPP Police Patrols that were organized against police brutality in the Afrikan community; as it was the Panther Party’s belief that “armed citizen patrols and the arming of the citizenry as guaranteed by the Constitution were the most effective deterrents to excessive use of police force.”

The alarmed and instantaneous reaction to the fully armed BPP in Sacramento further confirmed this, and then Gov. Ronald Reagan’s signing of the bill into law catapulted the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense into national prominence.

Three months prior to this, in March 1967, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had begun an “internal security” investigation of Huey Newton, prompting then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to announce, on Sept. 8, 1968, that the BPP was considered to be “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country.” At the time, the Black Panther Party was barely known outside of Oakland, Calif.”

Bay View National Black Newspaper

In the following years the Hoover Administration meticulously and ruthlessly initiated campaigns to delegitimize and eviscerate the Black Panthers. 

Here, yet again, we see the black community responding to white initiated violence, in particular the Black Panther declaration to halt police brutality in their neighborhoods. And, you guessed it, yet again, because whites held power, black people suffered.

Next time you see somebody trying to equivocate a burned-down gas station or a little looting with the violence perpetrated against black bodies, with Mike Brown’s death, stop them. Check them. Reframe the conversation again. Make them talk about the robbing of memories from marriage, kids, grandchildren, an infinite number of moments never lived because those years were fleeced from a young man with fire, gunpowder, and bullets.

Force them to talk about the theft of a system that denies Mike Brown’s family, and countless others, any effective recourse, let alone justice. Don’t be fooled into thinking a gas station burned somehow levels the field of brutality and injustice levied against the black community. Don’t play that game, because that’s what it is to them: A game where they can say “I’m right and you’re wrong,” a game that ignores the reality that they’re alive and black boys like Mike Brown are dead. 

Thankfully

paul-curious:

searching for the ideal:
perfect-cuckold:

:)